Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday demanded a halt to Israeli settlement expansion in disputed territory and said he was committed to a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel after US President Donald Trump suggested he could be open to alternatives.
Abbas's office issued a statement after Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a news conference in Washington before a meeting.
"The Palestinian presidency stressed its commitment to the two-state solution and to the international law and international legitimacy in the way that secures ending the Israeli occupation and establish the Palestinian State with east Jerusalem as its capital," the statement read.
At the news conference, Trump dropped US insistence on a two-state solution, a longstanding bedrock of Middle East policy, upending a position embraced by successive administrations and the international community and a US commitment to the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.
Giving a convoluted response to a question on whether he backed a two-state solution, Trump suggested that he could abide by whatever the two parties decided.
"I'm looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like," he said as he stood alongside Netanyahu. "I can live with either one."
Abbas' statement stessed the Palestinians' "readiness to deal positively with the Trump administration to make peace."
At the same time, the Palestinian leader slammed the "persistence of the Israeli prime minister in his dictates regarding continuation of Israeli control over the eastern border of the territory of the State of Palestine as well as to demand recognition of Israel as a Jewish state," saying these preconditions "are considered a continuation of the attempt to impose facts on the ground and to destroy the two-state option while replacing it with the principle of one state with two systems—Apartheid."
He warned that "the insistence of the Israeli government to destroy the two-state option through the continuation of settlements and imposing facts on the ground will lead to more extremism and instability."
In what appeared to be a gesture to the Palestinians, meanwhile, Trump also asked Netanyahu to "pull back on settlements for a little bit."
Abbas said he agreed with Trump's call for Israel to refrain from settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
"The presidency demands that (Israel) agree to (Trump's call), and that of the international community, to halt all settlement activities including in occupied east Jerusalem," the statement said.
The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the West Bank, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Islamist Hamas, with east Jerusalem as its capital.